Govt suspends teacher transfers to allow audit

(L-R) Uneb Executive Secretary, Mr Dan Odongo, Uneb Chairperson, Prof Mary Okwakol, State Minister for Higher Education, Mr John Chrysostom Muyingo, and the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Education and Sports, Ms Ketty Lamaro, during the release of the 2022 UACE results in Kampala on March 3. PHOTO/FRANK BAGUMA 

What you need to know:

  • The Auditor General is expected to audit the government payroll to, among others, identify ‘ghost’ civil servants.

The Ministry of Education has suspended the recruitment and transfer of new staff in all government schools until a nationwide public service payroll audit is completed.

 In an April 17 letter, the ministry’s permanent secretary, Ms Ketty Lamaro, told heads of all public schools about the decision. She said it will enable the Auditor General to carry out the audit.  
 “In light of the above, the Ministry of Education has temporarily suspended the transfer and deployment of teaching and non-teaching staff effective April 17 until further notice,” Ms Lamaro said in her circular.

 The postponement of staff movements comes at a time when 2,500 teachers, recruited by the Education Service Commission a year ago, had hoped to be deployed.  
The Ministry of Education spokesperson, Mr Denis Mugimba, said those teachers who received notification letters will now have to wait a little longer to get to work and earn a living.
 “Until the Auditor General’s report is out, we cannot deploy or transfer any teacher because you might end up mixing things,” Mr Mugimba said on Tuesday.
 He said all teachers will have to be physically verified by officials from the office of the Auditor General, warning that whoever will be absent will not be counted.

 The public service payroll audit is expected to take more than two months to ensure that it is completed by the next financial year, which opens in July.
 Last week, this publication reported that the government had commissioned a fresh payroll audit to determine the exact number of civil servants and to find out exactly how much it should be paying in salaries and wages.
 The decision to audit the payroll followed widespread reports from many districts and government agencies indicating unusual shortfalls in wage budgets this financial year, which caused disruptions in the payment of civil servants in recent months.

 Earlier audits had also revealed that billions of shillings have been lost to questionable salary payments and due to computations based on faulty data.
In 2014,  the Auditor General’s office had appointed an international audit firm, Ernst & Young, to investigate the validity of more than 6,000 civil servants, mainly teachers and police officers, who had been reinstated on the government payroll after they had been deleted in 2013 following a government audit. 

They were, however,  government technocrats reinstated them without informing the Auditor General’s office on the pretext that the names had been deleted erroneously.
 A forensic audit report by the Auditor General released earlier this year indicated that taxpayers lost Shs80 billion in illegal or questionable payments to more than 28,000 district and other local government workers.
  The Public Service Minister, Mr Wilson Muruli Mukasa, last week said the current audit will streamline staff planning and clarify on the wage bill.

• In October 2022, the Education Service Commission said the government payroll had more than 1,000 ‘ghost’ teachers 
• It said  ‘ghost’ teachers have been on the payroll since 2003.